Katie La Salle-Lowery, come by last night and we spent a great deal of the evening talking about our creative processes of creating images. She is mostly a landscape photographer with an intense passion for Yellowstone Park. Our approaches are on the utter extreme from each other, but the core of our ideas and base of knowledge of the fundamentals are the same. I began my love for photography the old fashioned way of manual processing in primarily black and white. I was an avid fan of the theories of Ansel Adams experiment in the Zone System he developed and refined through the course of his life. The basic concept was to previsualize the subject that you wanted to capture. You would then meter all the various tones of reflectance with in the subject, looking specifically at the extremes of black and white. Then you would begin to see where all the tones fell in between these extremes. I used to have a zone notebook so I could place the tones on the actual scale and know precisely where I would fall within my image. Adams’ theories where then based on the idea that you could either stretch or compress your current tonal range so that every tone in the 10 gray tone scale zone system would be distinctly represented. There then becomes a distinct means of how long you exposed the image and how long you processed the film to place it exactly where you wanted them to lie to create to perfect negative. Believe me it’s a very complicated system that is based in mathematical formula and extremely exciting to work in once you get the gang of it, because every image is unique and become a challenge to push to the edge of your perception of perfection. It was amazing the absolute control you had over getting exactly what you envisioned.
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